Mercedes GLE SUV - Interior & comfort
Beautifully designed and built, the GLE's interior is its strongest suit
Like many SUVs, the GLE feels rather out of its depth on a challenging road, yet excels when you want to soak up motorway miles in unruffled comfort. Not only does it ride smoothly, but it insulates occupants from exterior noise, with barely a murmur from the wind or road as it rushes past.
This sets a relaxing mood, and matches the luxurious tone created by the GLE's leather-lined interior. Beautifully assembled with classy aluminium and wood touches, it represents an impressive step forward over its predecessor's high quality – yet visually appealing – interior design.
Mercedes GLE dashboard
The GLE's dashboard is strongly influenced by that of the previous Mercedes S-Class, which we still rate as having among the most impressive interiors you can buy today. It has a look of its own, though, with rectangular air vents in place of the saloon's round items, but still with a high quality gloss metal finish. Only at the GLE 53's £80,000 price point does some of the trim quality around the air vents start to look below par. The GLE 63 S costs an additional £40,000.
As with many of the brand's latest models, the GLE incorporates the brand's latest dual-screen setup that combines instrumentation and infotainment in a glossy display panel that stretches from in front of the driver to the top of the centre stack. In fact, it comprises two separate 12.3-inch screens, but the presentation is virtually seamless and it appears that a single, ultra-wide display spans the dashboard.
The latest MBUX infotainment system is standard on all models, and we reckon it's among the most intuitive systems on offer today, with sharp graphics and fast responses. You navigate it via a central controller that incorporates a touch-pad that provides haptic feedback when a command is issued. It can recognise handwriting, too, enabling you to enter addresses and names one character at a time.
All UK cars get the sporty AMG Line treatment but there are variants of that trim that pile on more technology.
Every GLE has the MBUX infotainment system as standard, which incorporates 3D navigation mapping and Bluetooth media connectivity. Nappa leather upholstery, heated front seats, illuminated grab handles and exterior running boards, LED headlights with automatic high-beam, auto-dimming mirrors, and Parktronic. The standard interior finish is a tasteful 'open pore oak'.
The AMG Line Premium trim is £3,500 and adds bigger alloy wheels, four-zone climate control and a 360-degree camera. Top-spec AMG Line Premium Plus adds keyless entry, a panoramic sunroof, a Driving Assistance package and a Burmester sound system. The AMG GLE 53 model also comes in Premium and Premium Plus trims, with broadly the same equipment as the AMG Line cars mentioned above.
It's worth noting that not all GLEs boast seven seats as standard. Where a third row is fitted, extra USB sockets and four-zone climate control are provided for its occupants.
Not so long ago, ordering a new Mercedes involved trawling through a long and complex list of individual optional extras. Times have changed, and GLE buyers now don’t have many options to add. Metallic paint costs from £795, while you can spec an Off-Road package for £1,695 on the GLE 350 d and 400 d Premium Plus models.